Our new Album of the Week is Wotcheor from Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies
Jez Lowe presents “a different sort of album” entitled “WOTCHEOR!”, featuring The Bad Pennies (Kate Bramley on fiddle and vocals, Andy May on Northumbrian Pipes and keyboards, and David De La Haye on fretless bass) with special guests Benny Graham, Louis Jo Killen, Hinny Pawsey, The Young ‘Uns, Bert Draycott and The Tyneside Maritime Chorus.
18 new songs, written by Jez Lowe, inspired by the people and the culture of North East England, and presented in a “radio cabaret” style, in homage to the legendary 1950’s BBC Radio show “Wot Cheor Geordie”.
“Wotcheor” was a much-used greeting used in North East England, (as in “What Cheer?”, or “How are you?” and the cockney “Wotcha!”) until not so long ago, and which was adopted by the BBC in the late 1940’s as the title to their popular weekly radio series “Wot Cheor, Geordie”. This programme, broadcast from Newcastle Upon Tyne throughout the 1950’s, showcased comedians, story-tellers, and local personalities, alongside singers of Geordie folk songs, fiddlers and Northumbrian pipers, and did much to maintain the interest in North East traditional music and culture prior to the start of the so-called “folk revival” in the latter half of the decade. It’s broadcast alternated with similar shows from Northern Ireland, and accounts for much of the cross-fertilisation of Irish and Northumbrian music that is evident in the region to this day.
In 1999, when Jez Lowe was researching his BBC Radio Two series “A Song For Geordie”, he was continually being told by a certain generation of musicians on Tyneside about the influence cast by “Wot Cheor, Geordie”, and in recent years has set up two touring shows inspired by its format, “A Song For Geordie” in 2007 and “The Winter Almanac Radio Roadshow” in 2009. Now, on this new album, he presents a set of new songs, on disc this time, in that same style.